“It’s a bit hard to find words for this – You don’t look Native to me won the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant,” says Maria Sturm. “I feel exponentially happy and glad to be sharing the list with other women photographers whose work I admire.”
Sturm has won the prize in a strong year for the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, with the 31 shortlisted photographers including Magnum Photos’ Diana Markosian, Sputnik Photos’ Karolina Gembara, and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize-winner Alice Mann. But her long-term project You don’t look Native to me, which shows young Native Americans in Pembroke, North Carolina impressed the judges with its sensitive approach to its subjects.
BJP’s annual Cool + Noteworthy issue is back, presenting the people, places and projects that have caught our eye over the past year.
Among this year’s noteworthies is the photographer behind our cover story, Tyler Mitchell, who became the first black cover photographer of American Vogue when he shot Beyoncé for the September 2018 issue. He tells the BJP about his new-found mission since returning home after living in London: “I realised I have a responsibility to be, specifically, a black American photographer and filmmaker.”
We also spotlight Kensuke Koike, a Japanese collagist who gives new life to old photo albums. Koike has attracted a loyal following on Instagram with his savvy cut-and-move videos, making his latest book one of the most anticipated on 2018. Feng Li is another newcomer who has made waves in fashion photography over the past year. This issue we feature Li’s playful fashion shoot in his native Chengdu, a creative city on the rise in China.
“What do I know about it? All I know is what’s on the internet.” So said Donald Trump in an interview in March 2016, after he was confronted about the legitimacy of a video he had tweeted, along with the claim that the protester it depicted was a member of ISIS. The video has since been proved as a hoax, neatly demonstrating the difficultly of navigating between truth and fiction in today’s digital landscape. In a world where even a layperson can manipulate images on their phone, and spread them to thousands of fake followers with one click, how can we begin to know what is #real?
It’s the kind of question that All I know is what’s on the Internet will pose, a new exhibition opening at The Photographers’ Gallery, London including work by 11 artists and collectives. It includes “social media machines” made by Australian designers Stephanie Kneissl & Maximilian Lackner, built to maximise activity and likes; and wall-mounted installations by Eva and Franco Mattes that reveal the lesser-known, surprisingly personal, world of online content moderators. Curated to draw attention to the neglected corners of digital image production, the show helps visualise the vast infrastructure of online platforms, and the enormous amount of human labour needed to keep it churning.
First featured in BJP in 2010 with her graduation project, Alma Haser came to wider attention two years later with a work titled The Ventriloquist. Struck by the identical, bowl-cut hairstyles of two close friends, Luke and James, she took their portrait – and image earned her a place on the shortlist for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Despite the attention, Haser became disillusioned with 2D images and began to incorporate a form of paper manipulation to create her signature aesthetic. Rather than flattening the world around us, she now folds it into something new. “Experimentation has shaped my identity as an artist,” she says. “I’m always thinking about different sculptural approaches to photography and how I can build layers into the work.”
It’s said that inspiration can be found anywhere, and revelations from otherwise unremarkable moments. It’s this subtlety that London-based photographer Rick Pushinsky has explored in his new work, Powerful Mantras, a set of 10 image-text postcards.
Pushinsky got into the habit of sharing images of the everyday via Instagram stories, which he uses to upload shots he’s taken with his iPhone. “I take pictures of things I find interesting or amusing, and I share them,” he says. “After some time, I started pairing those pictures with slices of text.”
Six years ago, when John Arsenault first started taking photographs of flowers, they were intended as modern-day love letters to his new boyfriend. Posted on Instagram with the ambiguous title ‘For You!’, the tender images depicted roses the NYC-based, fine-art photographer had picked out for his lover – but the identity of that new beau stayed private at the beginning. Six months later he was ready to reveal the secret recipient – his partner, and now his husband, Raf. Shortly afterwards For You! became a series for everyone, as Arsenault started tagging all the people he was thinking of while photographing the flowers. For You! Was completed in 2017, when he captured the image ‘9:15am, Haverhill, Massachusetts’ at his aunt’s home. “I took the image and knew immediately it was the final image of the series,” he says, adding that he used the same simple facts for the captions of each of his images – the time, the date, and often the location.
“The term ‘Britishness’ has changed so much over the last ten years, I don’t really know what it means anymore to say ‘I’m British,’” observes Scottish photographer Niall McDiarmid, who has spent almost a decade photographing people in the street across Britain. In 2011 he started work on his latest series, Town to Town, which has just been published as a book and which will be shown at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, UK from 31 January-12 May. Initially focussing on London, it soon expanded beyond the capital city and ended up covering 200 towns, tracing a journey around Britain and its diverse inhabitants.
1. Gregory Halpern’s ZZYZX, published by Mack A book that merges documentary, portraiture and a strange heightened sense of mystery that keeps you guessing about what it is he is evoking. I think it’s a work of the imagination as much as anything: a California of the mind that carries an undercurrent of anxiety and unreality. 2. Diane Arbus: In the Beginning at The Met Breuer, 12 July-27 November Wonderfully-curated show about Diane Arbus before she became the Diane Arbus we know. Grainy photographs from the NY demimonde of Times Square peep shows and Coney Island freak shows, but also some moments of dark melancholy. You sensed very strongly from this show that she was always a loner with a camera, searching for other outsiders to connect with however fleetingly. 3. Provoke: Between Protest and Performance at Le Bal, Paris from 14 September-11 December An intriguing look at the 1960s Provoke generation that placed them in the social and political context of the time, but also within the tradition of Japanese photography and the influences …
We were among the first to recognise the work of Bangladeshi photographer Sarker Protick, including him in our annual Ones to Watch selection in 2014, the same year he was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. The next year was just as eventful – in 2015 he won a World Press Photo award, was listed in PDN’s 30 emerging photographers and was invited to join VII Photo Agency. Currently, he’s lecturing at the famed Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, featured in the latest BJP, which focuses on photography learning. “Storytelling has always been one of the strengths of Pathshala and that’s what the students want to learn,” he tells Ahmed Shawki and Simon Bainbridge in the Education issue. We asked him to take over our Instagram this month – here’s a glimpse inside his process: Photo @sarkerprotick Grandma’s hair turned gray, the walls started peeling off. Objects, letters, old photographs were all that remained. This is Sarker Protick @sarkerprotick, your host this week at BJP Instagram @bjp1854. Based out of Bangladesh I am a …
Documentary photographer Lisa Barnard will be taking over the BJP Instagram (@bjp1854) over the next few days to report from the Chinese festival. The photographic artist and Senior Lecturer in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales is exhibiting her project, Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden and will be sharing her experience at the festival. She’ll be posting images from in and around Guangzhou, her journey to Lianzhou and from the set up and events at the festival. As Barnard explains, her project is “a study into the ‘unholy alliance’ between the military, the entertainment industry and technology, and their coalescence around modern-day warfare.” In recent years China has become an increasingly vital source of excellent contemporary photography, with photographers like Chen Xiaoyi, Jiehao Su and Chen Wei documenting how their country copes with global power shifting eastwards. As Wei told us in April, “I respond to what I see in China around me on a daily basis, both the good and the bad.” Lianzhou Foto Festival is a …